[Those of you NOT voting in Albany County can skip this.]
A friend of mine is voting absentee and asked me to interpret the one proposal on the Albany County ballot.
Proposal Number One, County Proposition Number One
Local Law No “H” for 2016
“Shall there be approved in the County of Albany, Local Law No. “H” for 2016, entitled A LOCAL LAW OF THE COUNTY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK, AMENDING VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE ALBANY COUNTY CHARTER AND LOCAL LAW NO. 8 FOR 1993 AS SUBSEQUENTLY AMENDED AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF INCORPORATING THE PROBATION DEPARTMENT AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS INTO THE ALBANY COUNTY CHARTER.”
I had no idea what that meant.
Subsequently, over the Columbus Day weekend, the Board of Elections has posted information. I’ve learned that the legislation would clarify language in the Albany County Charter. It would:
* Incorporate the county’s Probation Department and Board of Elections into the charter – seems pretty much administrative
* Extend the period in which the county executive may make an appointment to fill a department-head vacancy position to 90 days from 45 days, and the period in which the legislature may confirm the appointments to 60 days from 45 days – I assume this has been a problem
* Mandate a written designation of an order of succession for the offices of the county executive, comptroller, and sheriff – I like THAT
* Mandate that the county adopt an administrative code – it doesn’t have one?
* Require public hearing notices be posted on the county website – transparency I like, but why does that need a vote? Whatever
* Update various sections of the Albany County Charter by defining previously outdated or ambiguous terms and correcting language for clarity – sufficiently vague
Also important: I was looking at my sample ballot and noticed the words: PROPOSITIONS ARE L0CATED ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS BALLOT. Don’t miss it!
Note that the charter revisions will NOT include any provision to downsize the county Legislature, unlike last year’s ballot.
You may be surprised to discover that there are candidates to vote for besides the President. There are members of the US House of Representatives, and for many Americans, a race for US Senate. Plus the entire New York State legislature – the Senate and the Assembly, is up.
Unfortunately, there are a number of judge races in this area, plus the Albany County District Attorney’s contest, that are running unopposed. I hate that, as it reminds me of the lesser days of Albany politics.
At the same time, there is an opportunity to help Marquis Dixonin the form of a YouCaring drive. We have an opportunity to help support his family by helping to remove some of the financial stress of more than 2.5 years of supporting Marquis while he was incarcerated.
A friend of mine suggested this, and I’m liking it: a write-in vote for Marquis Dixon for Albany County D.A. District Attorney David Soares supported sending Dixon, a 16-year old at the time of the offense, to adult prison for nine years for the theft of a pair of sneakers, a minor incident during which no one was harmed.
Last week the appeals court strongly repudiated Soares’ position, unanimously granting Marquis Dixon “youthful offender” status he should have initially had and reducing his sentence to the minimum of one to three years. This write-in vote will send a message to D. A. Soares that his punitive incarceration-based policies are unacceptable.